Before you go on, be advised that this article is full of spoilers. If you have not seen this episode of The Mandalorian, go watch it first and then come back to read this. In the second chapter of the new Star Wars show, The Mandalorian wastes no time getting back into the action. Within the first minute, you have our titular character fending off aliens who were assumedly after the same child that he ended up getting in the first episode. The idea of fending off others and action seemed to be the common theme in this episode as Mando fights off other creatures, Jawas, and other individuals in action sequence after action sequence.
There were many positives during this episode, a lot like last week’s episode. I’ve decided to pick my top six takeaways and aspects that worked. First off, the chemistry between The Mandalorian played by Pedro Pascal and Kuiil played by Nick Nolte has been incredible thus far and stuck out during this episode. They are the only two characters that have speaking parts past a couple of words, and in both of the first two episodes, the dynamic between these two characters has consistently been one of the best parts of the series. Unfortunately, it seems that Kuiil might not be a returning character after this episode, but I hope he comes back at some point during this series.
The score for the first two episodes has been another bright spot for the show thus far. It’s hard to remember a television score that sticks with me well after the episode or run of the show. The most notables could include Game of Thrones and Lost, but I would put The Mandalorian score so far as a potential television score I remember for years after it is over. Even though it is being composed by Star Wars newcomer, Ludwig Goransson, but his music just has the feel of Star Wars. The music in Star Wars is about half of the magic, and when it hits it helps guide the story and the music for The Mandalorian has done exactly that.
As I mentioned before, one of the best parts of the first two episodes has been the action set pieces. This series was advertised as an action-packed drama and so far, it has delivered. One of my favorite scenes in recent Star Wars was the action sequence at the end of the first episode. It had everything that I would want in a live-action Star Wars show and was perfectly executed, and episode two picked up where it left off in that regard. Three specific sequences were excellent during this episode.
The first action sequence was the one that was mentioned at the beginning of this review when he is fending off other aliens who were either trying to kill him or steal the child, or both. It had Mando fighting off three individuals in hand to hand combat. This specific sequence was close and personal that showed the hero (or anti-hero) needing to think on the fly to protect the child and keep his target protected.
The second sequence came moments later in the episode when he found that the Jawas had stolen everything off his ship and he chased after their carrier. During this chase, he climbs to the top, which included a scene where he had to avoid an oncoming ledge which would have more than likely killed him. This reminded me of the same event in Solo during the train heist that almost kills Han and Chewie until at the very last second avoidance where they take cover and ultimately live out their stories. This entire scenario also reminded me of many westerns where the hero has to hop aboard a train to get something or go somewhere. It had those same types of stakes and intensity.
The last action sequence that I loved was everything with the fight with the rhino-like creature. Everything about it was so much fun to watch and had me on the edge of my seat. It made me wonder how he was going to get out of this situation and defeat this creature and move on to his next task. It made Mando have to improvise and showed the audience all of the tools that he had in his repertoire, even though lots of these weapons did not help in this case.
Going off of that final action sequence, another part I’ve enjoyed is the writing of this story so far. Specifically, I like how they have written this character into dilemmas that he has to find a way to get out of. They have done a tremendous job of making Mando seem vulnerable, both emotionally and physically. We see that he can easily get defeated by various opponents. It happened twice in this episode alone. With the Jawas they push him off a forty-something foot drop, and later on, he was getting worked by the rhino and I loved watching that get resolved. One aspect I adored about the writing with Breaking Bad was oftentimes the writers would write Walter White into a corner and have to write him out of it later, and I hope this is what happens on The Mandalorian as well. Now, of course, these are incredibly different shows; one is about a teacher turned meth cook and not a bounty hunter, but I hope they continue to go a similar writing route with our main character. They’ve also done an excellent job of writing a subtly emotionally vulnerable character thus far. You can tell by small actions that Mando has a soft spot for The Child such as his constant caressing of the cradle after he passes out from using the force.
Speaking of the force, I wouldn’t be doing The Mandalorian justice if I didn’t mention the building of mythology. In its simplest form, Star Wars is all about mythology and it seems like our characters in this show don’t know a lot about the mythology that the audience knows. Towards the end of the episode, both Mando and Kuiil when talking about Baby Yoda using the force don’t seem to know much about the force. It raises the question, if you are in this universe and not close to the rebellion or empire do you not know a lot about the force, Jedi, Sith, or even Luke Skywalker? Are these all legitimately legends at different parts of the galaxy? It is not long after the fall of the Empire and I hope there is some expansion going forward on what the mass populous considers myth and what they consider reality. I also hope they expand on the mythology of who the Mandalorians are. In this episode, the Mandalorian says during this episode that his weapons are a part of who he is because he is a Mandalorian. This was a great line and I hope we continue to get small explanations on who they are as a culture and build on their mythology.
Okay, it is time to talk about baby Yoda. I’ll be honest I was a little hesitant about this reveal at the end of the first episode. One of the aspects to Yoda’s species I have loved is the idea that it is one of, if not the best mysteries in all of Star Wars and I still am not sure if I want to know more about them. After the second episode, I am in love with this character and would take a bullet for this beautiful creature. Baby Yoda was funny, adorable and will likely help guide the character development of the Mandalorian. I think that this character will create a moral dilemma for our main character. It seems that he has started to become attached to this child and I could see a scenario where he has trouble turning it in for the bounty, or if he does turn it in and it gets killed or experimented on he lives with some guilt and trauma going forward. Everything about baby Yoda has been great and hopefully, we get more of it without detracting from the main storyline.
Baby Yoda has also spawned many different theories on it was a target that was up for bounty and the significance of the child. Some pointed out that the doctor in the first episode has the Kamino logo on his shoulder and that maybe he wants to clone this creature for their force-sensitive capabilities. Some have mentioned that maybe this is the offspring of Yoda himself. Others have said maybe this is the clone of Yoda. I have even seen some say that this creature was born the same year as Anakin based on both being fifty years old and maybe this was supposed to be the Chosen One. The point is the theories go on and on, some are crazy while others are semi-plausible.
There were only two major negatives during this episode. The first being after Baby Yoda force lifts the rhino and then how easily the Mandalorian kills it. As mentioned before the Mandalorian was getting easily beat until Baby Yoda intervened, and it felt like it was just too easy for him to deliver the final blow with a simple stab in the neck with a small dagger. It just felt like it would have taken a little more to kill this alien than that, but oh well.
The other negative of this episode was it seemed too short. I think a lot of fans felt that these episodes would be close to an hour-long, but both episodes have been between thirty and forty minutes. I ended this episode wanting just a little more. This is a good problem to have though. If you have your audience wanting more it means you’re doing something right, and if they are consistently this length, then I can deal with that, I’d rather have them feel too short and unrushed compare to feeling like it drags on for too long.
The MVP of this episode has to baby Yoda. Like I mentioned this character is so darn cute and has instantly become a fan favorite in this series. Baby Yoda helped open up the idea of the force in this series and saved our main character from almost certain death. Baby Yoda is easily this episodes MVP and I hope we get more and more of this character while building up the titular character.
This was another good episode. While I consider the pilot episode to be in the great category, this was a solid follow up. This was a great set up episode for the audience to crave more of this story. As a whole it had a lot going for it including great chemistry, score, and a great new character; but some logic with how to kill that rhino and feeling a tad too short downgrade it, a little bit compared to the first episode. With all that being said I give it a solid 8.4/10, a solid B.
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